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* Easter

* EDIS, Taner

* EINSTEIN, Albert

* ELLER, David

* The End Of Faith ; HARRIS, Sam

* The Enlightenment

* Ethics ; BLACKBURN, Simon

* The Ethics of Belief ; BURGER, A. J. (editor)

* evolution

* The Existence of God ; SWINBURNE, Richard

* Easter

Follow this link: The Flat Tire and the Gospels

* EDIS, Taner


An Illusion of Harmony

* EINSTEIN, Albert

Perhaps the most famous scientist of all time, Albert Einstein was born in 1879 in Ulm, Germany and died in 1955 in his adopted country, the United States. He did major research on the photoelectric effect, for which he received the Nobel Prize in physics, 1921, and was the author of the special and general theories of relativity.

See also:


* ELLER, David


Natural Atheism

David Eller is the author of an excellent article on the subject of agnosticism:
Agnosticism: The Basis For Atheism, Not An Alternative To It on the web site of American Atheist.

* The End Of Faith
Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason
Keywords: religion
WW Norton

* The Enlightenment (n.)

* Ethics
A Very Short Introduction
Keywords: morality
Oxford University Press

Blackburn's short book attempts to summarize the difficult and thorny field of ethics. However, one of the first tasks which he tackles is relatively easy: dispensing with the old myth that religion is the basis of morals and ethics. Commenting on the observations made by Socrates and reported in Plato's dialogue Euthyphro, Blackburn writes:

"The alternative suggested by Plato's dialogue is that religion gives a mythical clothing and mythical authority to a morality that is just there to begin with. Myth then, is not to be despised. It gives us symbolism and examples that engage our imaginations.... In this analysis, religion is not the foundation of ethics, but its showcase or its symbolic expression.

In other words, we drape our own standards with the stories of divine origin as a way of asserting their authority. We do not just have a standard of conduct that forbids, say, murder, but we have mythological historical examples in which God expressed his displeasure at cases of murder. Unhappily myth and religion stand at the service of bad morals as well. We read back what we put in, magnified and validated. We do not just fear science, or want to take other peoples' land, but we have examples in which God punishes the desire for knowledge, or commands us to occupy the territory. We have God's authority for dominating nature, or for regarding them—others different from ourselves—as inferior, or even criminal. In other words, we have the full depressing spectacle of people not only wanting to do something, but projecting upon their gods the commands making it a right or a duty to do it. Religion on this account is not the source of standards of behaviour, but a projection of them, made precisely in order to dress them up with an absolute authority....

If all this is right, then the death of God is far from being a threat to ethics. It is a necessary clearing of the ground, on the way to revealing eithics for what it really is. Perhaps there cannot be laws without a lawgiver. But Plato tells us that the ethical laws cannot be the arbitrary whims of personalized gods. Maybe instead we can make our own laws."

pp. 16-17

Note that in the above quotation, Blackburn ascribes to Plato ideas which in fact should be attributed to Socrates. In fact Plato was of the opinion, as expressed his Tenth Book of the Dialogue on Laws, that belief in the gods was necessary, clearing violating Socrates's observations. See: Atheophobia, A Prejudice Thousands of Years Old

* The Ethics of Belief
Essays by William Kingdon Clifford, William James and A. J. Burger
BURGER, A. J. (editor)
Keywords: morality religion
Dry Bones Press, Roseville, CA, USA
The first two essays are dated 1879 (Clifford) and 1897 (James)

This thin volume contains three essays, the first of which, about 30 pages in length, gives the volume its title and is based on a talk given by the English mathematician and philosopher William Kingdon Clifford in London in 1876. Clifford promotes evidentialism by arguing that "It is wrong, always, everywhere and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence."

Clifford's essay is available on line here: The Ethics of Belief

See Science and Ethics, edited by Kurtz and Koepsell.

* evolution (n.)

See Charles Darwin


Relevant Books:

At Home in the Universe -- KAUFFMAN, Stuart

Darwin's Dangerous Idea -- DENNETT, Daniel Clement

The Descent of Man -- DARWIN, Charles

Freedom Evolves -- DENNETT, Daniel Clement

The Greatest Show on Earth -- DAWKINS, Richard

The Origin of Species -- DARWIN, Charles

Religion Explained -- BOYER, Pascal

Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast -- WOLPERT, Lewis

What Evolution Is -- MAYR, Ernst

Relevant Articles:

Quotations: Thomas Henry HUXLEY

Has the Templeton Prize Compromised Charles Taylor?

The Moralistic Foundations of Creationism

Relevant Links:

* The Existence of God
Revised Edition
Keywords: Christianity philosophy
Clarendon Press, Oxford

The author, Nolloth Professor of Philosophy of the Christian Religion at the University of Oxford, presents the principal arguments put forward by theists in support of their hypothesis of the existence of god. Swinburne's goal is to place theism on a logical and rational foundation. He makes this attempt with honesty and intelligence, but succeeds mainly in revealing the weakness of the theist position.